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Tennessee’s newest kicker is ready to be the next clutch Vol

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Tennessee kicker Josh Turbyville is ready to take the next step. He’s shown he can handle kickoff duties with his strong leg. Now, he’s ready to display a bit more accuracy.

Turbyville, along with J.T. Carver, are competing to become the Vols’ placekicker this season after Charles Campbell ran out of eligibility last season. Campbell was no slouch. He was a Lou Groza semifinalist after he transferred from Indiana, finished 18-of-23 on field goals and made all 49 of his extra point attempts last season. Turbyville is ready to take over.

“Spring went pretty great…it’s basically like fall camp, but it’s hot outside,” Turbyville said during an appearance on The Dave Hooker Show. “Spring game went well, went kind of how I wanted it to. And then now we’re just in workouts and preparing for finals.”

Finals are important, but nothing is as important in East Tennessee as a game-winning kick over Alabama, which former UT kicker Chase McGrath pulled off in 2022. That would be the ultimate for Turbyville.

“I mean Alabama,” Turbyville said when asked about his perfect game in which to hit a last-second, game-winning field goal. “Chase’s scenario. That’s exactly what I want.”

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When asked about his performance to this point, Turbyville said, “I’m very happy with how I’ve performed because when I came in, they brought me in as a punter who could also do like kickoffs and like field goals was my third. 

“Then I came in and then everything happened. We bring in (former punter) Jackson (Ross), who’s Aussie style, so that kind of pushed me to go. I realize that ‘Okay, I don’t want to be a backup because he’s been doing that his whole life.’ 

“So then I moved, transitioned to working on field goals more. And so now I’m really happy at the spot I’m in to where I am competing for the starting job, on field goal and then working to keep my job on kickoff. So I’m happy with how I’m doing right now, for sure.”

When asked about how comfortable he is from long range, Turbyville said, “I’d say in terms of strength, I’m not going to miss short from 55 in. So that’s I would say 55 (yards) and I would be good, but it wouldn’t be short. And then I would say my like ‘money like,’ I’m getting a lot more consistent (on 50-yard field goals). And then. at the end of half, I would be comfortable hitting anything sixty yards and in.”

Turbyville was also asked about a little known fact. The kicker has a couple of webbed toes on each foot. Does the unusual toe configuration help him when he’s kicking. 

“I mean, I don’t think it does,” Turbyville said with a laugh. “I don’t think it does. I don’t feel it…But I also don’t know what it would feel like to not.”

Toes are just part of the equation. Most of kicking comes from the neck up.

“A lot of kicking is mental,” Turbyville said. “It’s got to be the same every single time because I would say it’s very similar to golf. So in golf, if you’re thinking about something in your back swing, something is probably going to go wrong with your forward swing.

“So being banged up (last season), the hardest part is you’ve got to dial in and just kind of realize that. Football doesn’t really care if you’re banged up. Either way, you gotta do your job. Like no one’s going to be like, oh, ‘You can redo that because you’re hurt.’” 

Turbyville had a penchant for occasionally sailing kickoffs out of bounds last season. That’s something, he said, that was due to a nagging hip injury he suffered early last season.

“So it’s just kind of something I had to learn last year. It being my first year, like actually playing. So the first couple, to be honest, I wasn’t banged up. I was just overhyped and was just trying to swing really hard,” Turbyville said. “But later in the season when like, you’d be sore, like for me, it was my hip would start to hurt.”

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